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View Full Version : Rate-a-Poem: The Night Dances



Paint
12-28-2005, 09:41 PM
I am not trying to compete with William, I think it would be fun for the rest of us to submit poetry that influences us as well.

By Sylvia Plath
Poems 1956-1963

A smile fell in the grass.
Irretrievable!

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals--
Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself--
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets
Have such a space to cross,

Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off--

Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six-sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.
Nowhere.

___________________________________

William Haskins
12-28-2005, 09:44 PM
you warm my heart. i don't see it as competition at all, and look forward to more of our members submitting poems for discussion. thanks, paint!

ETA: i've added it to the index.

kdnxdr
12-28-2005, 10:07 PM
Perception; Sylvia was definately blessed with Perception. However, her angst was that so little room is made in this world for Perception. And, she, like a comet, burned up her Perception, illuminating so many with so much, at her expense. Thank you Sylvia, I'm sorry, Sylvia, it hurt.

kdnxdr

mkcbunny
01-04-2006, 06:18 AM
I voted a few days ago but didn't have time to comment. It seems like this one fell under the radar quickly, so I thought I'd post my comments to bring it out into the post-holiday light for more votes.

I gave it a 4. Generally speaking, I love Plath's rhythm and connections, but this didn't quite get me to "5" territory. It seems to me that it takes a few stanzas to get rolling. That said, the way it moves through the lillies and the words she uses to describe the flowers ... it's breathtaking. And the way it lands at the end, coming down like that. Really great timing.

oneovu
01-04-2006, 06:38 AM
Thanks for bumping, mkcbunny. I'd missed this.

It's beautiful.

Only recently did I really begin writing and even reading poetry. It feels like there's so much I don't know or famous poets I should know, but I love it, anyway.

Sarita
01-11-2006, 12:13 AM
I gave it a 4. Generally speaking, I love Plath's rhythm and connections, but this didn't quite get me to "5" territory. Agreed. I love some of the lines beyond belief...

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself--
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.


That said, this poem makes me feel dirty... hey, someone had to say it.

P.H.Delarran
02-07-2006, 12:05 AM
I admit the imagery is beautiful in places, but overall, this poem is completely lost on me. However I have read other of her poems that moved me.

louisgodwin
02-07-2006, 11:25 AM
Perhaps I'm just not smart enough to understand this poem. I have no idea what this poem is supposed to be about.

poetinahat
02-07-2006, 11:55 AM
I'm with Sara -- it's as ethereal as hot sex gets, or as sexy as the universe gets. One or the other.

The awed beauty of a warm night outdoors, the immediate sensuality of flowers and touches -- vivid descriptions, teasingly arranged around the subject in couplets -- leaves me feeling uncertain, but airy. Lying on the grass, gazing at the stars.

Slightly (or more) beyond my comprehension -- I may be completely wrong, but it feels beautiful, and I revel in pretending the story.

Brokenfingers has exposed me. I'm an idiot.

brokenfingers
02-07-2006, 11:55 AM
I found the poem kind of plodding and distant at first and it was only the end that redeemed it for me, where you realize she's talking about a snowflake.

louisgodwin
02-07-2006, 01:15 PM
Snowflakes!

*smacking forehead with heel of palm*

I just re-read the poem and I get it now.

Thanks, BF!

Sarita
02-07-2006, 06:44 PM
See? How long have I said that snow is sexy? It just is, folks.

It. Just. Is.

rhymegirl
02-08-2006, 01:57 AM
Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off--

Falling like blessings, like flakes

six-sided, white

Touching and melting

Yes, it's about a snowflake. Or snow in general. And she gives these clues along the way. I've always loved Sylvia Plath. Her book, The Bell Jar, is one of my favorites.

poetinahat
02-08-2006, 02:14 AM
Unless snow was a metaphor for something. Like, say, sex -- for an instant, everything's perfect. Then, an instant later, it dissipates. And that's as far as I'm going with the 'melt' metaphor.

Shwebb
02-08-2006, 02:38 AM
Now that I know it's about snowflakes, I love it. I feel caught right up in the moment she's describing.

(I initially thought about sex, too, though, with the lines Sara quoted. I'm still trying to figure out how they apply to snowflakes. I think I'm sort of getting it, but not quite there. It's actually the "calla" line I'm having problem with, I think.)

rhymegirl
02-08-2006, 02:49 AM
Unless snow was a metaphor for something. Like, say, sex -- for an instant, everything's perfect. Then, an instant later, it dissipates. And that's as far as I'm going with the 'melt' metaphor.

Yes, that's a good point. You could take the poem literally or metaphorically.

ddgryphon
02-08-2006, 03:14 AM
Normally, I love Sylvia's work. This is, I believe a later poem, because she isn't so interested in form and that's a pity, because she made form sing in a way few "modern" (almost a lie here, isn't it) poets are able. I got it. And there are striking moments in it, but it starts out strong, then weakens immediately:

A smile fell in the grass.
Irretrievable!

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?


It isn't until later that the rhythms begin to move you into sync with the falling snow and you almost feel the flakes moving through the air:



Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six-sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.
Nowhere.


Now THAT! is how to end a poem. The imagry and rhythm marry up so well in these last few verses that it saves what had been flailing about. (although some good individual lines, it isn't cohesive until this point).

Again, strong, but didn't keep me there from beginning to end.

WondersWithin
01-22-2017, 09:37 PM
I love the ending to this poem. A strong word that ends.